Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published October 2011.

Web Exclusive: Considering Crosstalk

An oldtimer reflects on the changing perceptions of crosstalk over the decades

"Back then, crosstalk meant two people talking back and forth."

When I came into AA 29 years ago, crosstalk was wisely not allowed at meetings. However, it meant something different then than it does today. Back then, crosstalk meant two people talking back and forth, instead of each person getting a turn to speak uninterrupted. No one could even interject a comment during someone else's share. "No crosstalk" also meant not criticizing what another person said, not telling someone what to do about their problems, and not analyzing anyone else's psyche or situation. All good things to avoid.

But we could directly address anyone and everyone at the meeting, as long as it was during our own turn. You could say, "Thank you for what you said in your share," and then explain why it had been helpful, or why you related to it. In that same spirit of A.A. fellowship, you could offer condolences if someone shared that a loved one had died. Nowadays, any of this is usually ruled out as crosstalk.

-- Lily Joy

Pennsylvania

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